INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - Peer learning is way to access small-sized community groups

Beverley Ejimofo

Micah Community Projects is a faith-based community project in Lewisham, south London. Over the past three years we have focused on young people in the 18-25 age group providing a range of personal development opportunities.

In common with many community groups, a range of issues affects us, particularly overstretched staff and volunteers, limited resources and a growing need for our services.We also experience difficulties that are specific to faith-based groups, such as suspicion and exclusion from many funding sources.

However, research clearly demonstrates that faith-based organisations often work with the most marginalised sections of the community and 'hard to reach' groups. As a trustee and a fundraiser, I was pleased to be accepted on to the Institute of Fundraising and London Development Agency training programme. Participating in this training has provided us with a wider perspective on funding strategies and has had a positive impact on our work now and in the longer term.

The programme has also given us the opportunity to cascade our learning to smaller organisations, but I recognise that there are a great many other local and community groups that could benefit from similar guidance.

An effective way of addressing this need would be the development of peer-learning packages designed to allow smaller groups to access the Institute's knowledge and networks. Empowering the community to help itself offers the best chance of raising the general standards of fundraising and allowing organisations such as mine to continue the vital work that we do.

Beverly Ejimofo is a trustee of Micah Community Projects and a participant in the Institute of Fundraising and London Development Agency BME fundraising project

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